It’s easy to forget how big a role your water heater plays in your life. It’s responsible for your hot, steamy showers, your clean dishes, and the warm, luxurious baths you take after a long day at work. Without it, simple tasks become a huge challenge, such as taking a shower in the middle of winter! The last thing you want is your water heater not working! Fortunately, by performing key maintenance tasks, you can not only save money on costly repairs, but also ensure that your water heater will run efficiently for many years to come! This blog will go over 4 tips for maintaining your water heater in tip-top condition!

1. Lower the Temperature of Your Water Heater

The default temperature setting for most water heaters is 130° Fahrenheit. Professional plumbers recommend setting the temperature of your water heater to 115° – 120° Fahrenheit. A lower setting will help reduce the probability of your water heater overheating. It’ll also help you save around 5% on your energy bill!

Water above 120° accelerates the accumulation of hard water mineral sediment that can accumulate inside the tank, so lowering the temperature will also help your water heater last longer!

Person lowering the temperature of their water heater

2. Inspect the Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve

The temperature and pressure valve (also known as the T&P valve) is a safety valve on your water heater. If a water heater were to continue heating the water, even after reaching its set temperature, the built-up pressure could lead to an explosion! The T&P valve is here to prevent this from happening. Excess pressure is expelled through his valve. To ensure that your T&P Valve is functioning correctly, you can inspect the valve in three easy steps:

  1. Lift the T&P lever part way and let it snap back into place.
  2. The results should be a gurgling sound as the valve sends some water to the drain.
  3. If the T&P valve didn’t do anything, contact a professional for a replacement valve.

3. Remove Scale Build-Up by Performing a Mini-Flush on your Water Heater

With time, sediment builds up on your water heater tank. Also known as scale build-up, this sediment can corrode your tank and decrease your water heater’s efficiency. To prevent issues from arising with this problem, you should conduct a mini-flush on your water heater every now and then. How often you flush it depends on the hardness and acidity of the water in your area. In general, southern California waters are significantly hard, so conducting flushing regularly is a good idea! Here’s a quick and easy guide on how to flush your water heater:

  1. Shut off the electricity/gas connected to your water heating element.
  2. Place a big bucket under the drain valve or connect a hose that runs to a safe location outside.
  3. Carefully open your water heater’s drain valve by turning it counter-clockwise. WARNING: water will be extremely hot, so be really careful to avoid burns.
  4. After you’ve emptied 1 – 2 gallons, shut the valve off by turning it clockwise.
  5. Turn the power/gas back on.

Performing a water heater flushing can be a dangerous task for people without experience. We recommend having a professional plumber do the job to ensure it’s done correctly and safely.

4. Get an Annual Professional Water Heater Inspection/Tune-Up.

Just as your car needs regular maintenance and tune-ups to function, your water heaters need regular maintenance as well! Having a trained professional check on your water heater on a yearly basis is a smart thing to do. They will inspect parts of your water heater that you do not have safe access to. Some of the things you can expect your plumber to do during a check-up include:

  • Inspecting & cleaning the burner assembly
  • Checking for leaks/corrosion
  • Inspecting & repairing exhaust flue (for gas and oil models only)
  • Recommending replacement of parts

A professional plumber can also give you valuable insights on when it’s a good time to consider upgrading your water heater. At Atlas HVAC Inc, we can recommend to you the option that works best for your situation. Sometimes, it’s a smarter choice to buy a new, more efficient water heater rather than continually paying high energy and maintenance costs on an old water heater.

Your water heater plays a big role in your home, so it’s important to ensure that it functions properly! Not much is needed; as long as you give it the maintenance it needs, it’ll last you for many years! We hope these 4 tips for maintaining your water heater helped you see what you can do to ensure it works correctly and safely. If you have any concerns about your water heater or need to replace it, Atlas HVAC Inc can help! Give us a call at (877) 452-8527 or click here to get in contact!